Swedish Retail Giant Ikea Takes DIY Dining to the Masses with a ‘Pop Up’ Restaurant

by: Antony Hampel

Many of us have spent a Sunday afternoon wandering round the aisles at Ikea. In fact, it has become almost like a rite of passage, especially for cohabiting couples on the hunt for contemporary style on a budget. Ikea is such an institution in Britain these days that even its meatballs are famous. You know you’re doing something right, as a business, when you can successfully combine flat pack furniture and Scandinavian snacks.

The company is never content to rest on its laurels for too long though and it has spent the last few weeks giving the movers and shakers of Shoreditch a bit of a treat. From September 10-25th, Ikea set up its very own ‘DIY’ restaurant in the heart of London. It served breakfast, lunch, and dinner and, yes, there were meatballs. There was also a twist. When Ikea say ‘DIY,’ they really mean it.

Source photo: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea/campaigns/the-dining-club/

Diners were provided with a fully stocked kitchen, the finest ingredients, and a friendly sous chef for advice, but they had to cook their own meal. The idea was to bring people together, in a homely environment, and get them involved with their food. This meant getting stuck in, with pots, pans, plates, and a generous of culinary panache. It was an intimate affair too, with only 38 places up for grabs, so DIY or not, this was a special opportunity.

The Ikea Dining Club welcomed these guests free of charge as a bit of fun and frivolous marketing exercise. And, it worked too, because the company made clever choices about its location and audience. Shoreditch is quite a trendy part of London, full of millennials who do have a genuine interest in getting back to basics and learning about food in an exciting way. These are also the type of consumers that tend to identify with the Ikea brand and values.

The Dining Club was only a temporary project and it has been packed away now, but after the success of the venture, it is likely that Ikea will try its hand at more pop up experiences. So, Scandi-furniture fans should keep an eye out for that telltale hint of yellow in their neighbourhood. Let’s be honest, cooking dinner for the Queen is probably easier than putting together a flat pack wardrobe, so there’s nothing to worry about.